CSIR in the news..

An aggregation of news on the web about CSIR and its laboratories

Archive for June 2010

NEERI worried on pollution, health hazards due to shipbreaking

29 June 2010

NAGPUR: The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has expressed deep concern over health and environmental hazards caused due to ship breaking at Alang in Gujarat and other places in the country.

The premier national agency has said that the ship breaking industry has not only affected the local environment but also the health of workers engaged in the process.

“There are various harmful factors associated with ship breaking as asbestos, poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, chromite, mercury, fumes of welding and cuffing, radiation and off course noise, vibrations and air pollution,” Acting Director, NEERI, Dr Tapan Chakrabarti said.

Other harmful materials include battery, compressed gas cylinders, organic and firefighting liquids. When these chemicals enter the environment, they not only pollute but also cause adverse health impacts, Chakrabarti said.

Some major health fall outs include breathing difficulties, lungs cancer (due to asbestos dust), anemia, nervous system (due to lead), eczema and respiratory diseases (due to chromium), lung and scrotum cancer besides cell damage.

Even burning of solid waste in the open causes may result in dioxins which poses threat to suppression of immune system in pre-natal and post-natal in children, he said………..

Read more: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/pollution/-NEERI-worried-on-pollution-health-hazards-due-to-shipbreaking-/articleshow/6105134.cms

Written by csirindia

June 30, 2010 at 7:44 am

Posted in NEERI

Maharashtra pollution board promotes eco-friendly Ganesh idols

28 June 2010

MUMBAI: This Ganpati festival devotees may see a lot of eco-friendly idols, provided the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) certified process of idol-making becomes popular and good sense prevails among organisers.

After experimenting on various formulas to come up with eco-friendly idols for the past three years, Pramod Vitthal Palav, a sculptor from Kankavali in Sindhudurg, invented an idol manufacturing process by mixing clay with fig tree juice, paper and glue. This product dissolves in water in less than 15 minutes.

“Plaster of Paris (POP) idols float on water surface and increase pollution,” said Palav.

Palav sent his idol for testing to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) from where it was sent to NEERI.

The NEERI certified it after testing the manufacturing process and the ingredients used. Now, the MPCB has decided to promote this experiment by holding a one-day conference with local sculptors and government officials.

Despite the environmental advantages, shadu mati or clay is not preferred because it makes the idols very heavy……….

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_maharashtra-pollution-board-promotes-eco-friendly-ganesh-idols_1402147

Written by csirindia

June 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in NEERI

Evolution made easy through cartoons for schoolkids

28 June 2010

PUNE:  Thanks to an education system that encourages little out-of-the-box thinking, complex scientific theories often elude school children. Anu Raghunathan, a scientist at the National Chemical Laboratory, seems to have found a way out. Raghunathan interacted with around 85 schoolchildren at the National Chemical Laboratory on Sunday to initiate an easy approach towards science.

Raghunathan used cartoons of Mickey Mouse to explain the complex theories of evolution. “Just as Mickey Mouse has changed from the time Walt Disney created it in 1928 to the present Mickey that we know with bigger ears, eyes and head, we humans have changed from the time we started life on this planet,” she said.

“The education system today does not promote learning by questioning. It takes out all the fun that one can have while learning new concepts of science. School and textbooks train kids to think in a particular way. There is no scope for out-of-the-box thinking.”

She explained the processes of natural and artificial selection by referring to the process of selection of a sports team in a school, where those who perform well get to play and others are automatically dropped out. “This is artificial selection, while Darwin talks about natural selection, where species like the dinosaurs are eliminated if they are not able adapt themselves to the changing environment,” said Raghunathan.

Raghunathan emphasized the need of exploring the world and taking a closer look at things as well as questioning constantly.

Ashwini Gowdara, one of the participants who has been collecting leaves of various kinds from the age of 12, said, “It was interesting to know that Darwin also collected leaves, flowers, pebbles and even animal fossils.” A regular at the talks at the NCL, she feels it simplifies science lessons in school.

Nitin Shinde, a student of Class X, who later wants to become a microbiologist, shared his enthusiasm about this innovative process of learning, “This exercise urged us to go beyond the correct answer and ponder over why it is correct.”

Raghunathan also tried to engage students in discussions by asking them why they fall ill due to certain bacterial infections, but not after eating curd, which has lactic acid bacteria. She then introduced students to the concept of DNA sequencing.

Arvind Paranjape, a parent who attended the talk with his son, said, “The use of video footage to talk about three dimensional structures like DNA, RNA etc is meant to introduce children to such concepts. When we read about these topics in school, we were asked by our teachers to just mug up all this. At least this will not be the case with my son.”

Source: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/evolution-made-easy-through-cartoons-for-schoolkids/639335/

Written by csirindia

June 28, 2010 at 7:58 am

Posted in NCL

Cabinet okays scheme for adult literacy

26 June 2010

PANAJI: In a bid to enhance literacy levels in the state even further, the cabinet on Friday approved a scheme for literacy and vocational training for adults in Goa.

……..Preparation of transportation plan for Goa: The cabinet has also approved the government’s decision to appoint the Delhi-based central government organisation, Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), for the preparation of a short and long-term traffic and transportation plan for the state.

Kamat said the state government will pay Rs 60 lakh for the plan, of which Rs 30 lakh has already been released. The CRRI has also done a preliminary survey and is expected to present its short term plan within 6 months. The long-term plan is expected within one year, Kamat said.

To reduce road accidents in Goa, the CRRI is expected to cover several aspects such as parking, encroachments, footpath facilities, pedestrian behaviour and road markings and signages………

Complete news item at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Goa/Cabinet-okays-scheme-for-adult-literacy/articleshow/6093084.cms

Written by csirindia

June 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

Posted in CRRI

Anti-cholesterol drugs may cause depression: study

26 June 2010

HYDERABAD: A new study has established that long-term use of statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, may lead to depression.

The study conducted in animal cells by Amitabha Chattopdhyay and his group at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) found that statins impact serotonin, a neurotransmitter in brain that helps to control mood and behaviour. It was found that long-term use of the drug caused significant changes in the structure and function of the serotonin receptors. Adding cholesterol to cells treated with statin restored the function of the receptor to normal levels.

Chronic use

The group’s publication establishing the link between chronic use of cholesterol-lowering statins and mood disorders was published in the journal Biochemistry, brought out by the American Chemical Society……..

Read more: http://www.hindu.com/2010/06/26/stories/2010062657612400.htm

Written by csirindia

June 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

Posted in CCMB

Good news from Palamau: Tiger count now up to six

24 June 2010

RANCHI: A report prepared by the Hyderabad Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has ascertained the exact number of tigers in the Palamau Tiger Reserve, Jharkhand, to be six.

The report was based on DNA analysis of scat samples collected from inside the reserve area of 1026 sq km, between June 2008 and July 2009.

The samples were from Mahuadhand, Brawagarha, Baresand and Betla areas of the reserve, which are considered a Naxal stronghold.

In fact, the wildlife department had approached CCMB to conduct the DNA analysis after the Wildlife Institute of India did not find any sign of tigers in the survey carried out in 2008. Also there had been no tiger sighting in the reserve since 2007. In this backdrop, the findings of the CCMB have generated hope among the environmentalists that the big cat is not extinct here.

“Three incidents of poaching and six incidents of Naxal violence were reported between 2006 and 2009. The need of the hour is to reclaim the reserve from the hold of poachers and Naxals,” said Ashok Bhagat, who is associated with Van Rakhsha Samiti, Palamau.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Good-news-from-Palamau–Tiger-count-now-up-to-six/637778

Written by csirindia

June 24, 2010 at 8:02 am

Posted in CCMB

Anti-cholesterol drug causes depression

23 June 2010

Indian scientists have for the first time obtained evidence for the link between cholesterol-lowering drugs and depression in people taking these drugs to prevent heart attack.

They have found that cholesterol-lowering drug may affect the activity of a brain chemical that controls mood and behavior and thereby trigger anxiety and depression.

Cholesterol, a wax like substance, is the main culprit in heart disease. Although the body needs it, a high level of serum cholesterol causes blockage of coronary arteries thereby reducing blood circulation to the heart muscles leading to heart attack.

A class of drugs called ‘statins’ which lower the cholesterol level — by inhibiting a key enzyme responsible for its biosynthesis in the body – are the highest selling drugs in the global market and in clinical history with an estimated sale of 25 billion USD annually. They are extensively used as oral drugs to treat “hypercholesterolemia.”

Although they are very effective in reducing cholesterol levels in humans, there is a growing concern that chronic use of statins causes depression and anxiety in patients.

“In the last few years, a number of publications in medical journals have reported apparent symptoms of anxiety and major depression in patients upon long-term statin administration,” says Amitabha Chattopadhyay at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad…..

Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Life/Health-Fitness/Health/Anti-cholesterol-drug-causes-depression/articleshow/6082647.cms

Written by csirindia

June 24, 2010 at 8:00 am

Posted in CCMB

India foils Chinese bid to patent ‘pudina’

24 June 2010

NEW DELHI: India has foiled a major Chinese bio-piracy bid to patent the use of medicinal plants ‘pudina’ (mint) and ‘kalamegha’ (andrographis) for the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), with the help of India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), dug out formulations from ancient Ayurveda and Unani texts, like ‘Cakradattah’, ‘Bhaisajya Ratnavali’, ‘Kitaab-al-Haawi-fil-Tibb’ and ‘Qaraabaadeen Azam wa Akmal’, dating back to the 9th century, to show that both ‘pudina’ and ‘kalamegha’ have been widely used in India since ages for influenza and epidemic fevers.

After receiving exhaustive evidence from CSIR that confirmed India’s stand, the European Patent Office (EPO) on June 10 cancelled the decision to grant patent to Livzon, a major Chinese pharmaceutical company, on the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha for treating bird flu.

It all began when Livzon, on January 19, 2007 filed a patent application at EPO claiming usefulness of pudina and kalamegha for the treatment of bird flu to be novel. Impressed with the data, EPO decided to grant patent to Livzon on February 25, 2010.

However, on April 27, director of TKDL Dr V K Gupta shot off a letter to the EPO informing the examiners that the medicinal properties of pudina and kalamegha have been long known in Indian traditional medicine.

The letter said, “The patent application number EP1849473, titled Chinese traditional medicine composition for treatment of avian influenza, method for preparation, and application thereof, may kindly be referred to wherein the usefulness of andrographis (kalamegha) and mint (pudina) for treatment of fever, detoxification and for the treatment of avian influenza, has been claimed to be novel.”

The letter added, “In the TKDL, there are several references where andrographis and mint are used for the treatment of influenza and epidemic fever. Hence, there does not seem to be any novelty or inventive step involved in the claims made in the above referred patent application.”

Following the letter, the EPO set up a three-member panel to study the evidence. On June 10, the panel decided to cancel the Chinese patent claim.

TKDL is a collaborative project between CSIR and Union health ministry’s department of Ayush.

In 2000, a TKDL expert group estimated that about 2,000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at the international level, mainly due to the fact that India’s traditional medicine knowledge existed in languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil etc. These were neither accessible nor understood by the patent examiners at the international patent offices.

TKDL, therefore, overcame these language and format barriers by scientifically converting and making available information contents in 34 million A4 size pages of the ancient texts into five international languages — English, Japanese, French, German and Spanish.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-foils-Chinese-bid-to-patent-pudina/articleshow/6084091.cms

Written by csirindia

June 24, 2010 at 7:58 am

Posted in CSIR

‘Toxic mess will take 2 years to clean up’

22 June 2010

NEW DELHI Disposing of the hazardous chemicals that have saturated the site of the Bhopal industrial disaster shouldn’t be very difficult, the man in-charge of the government’s clean-up effort told HT today.  But according to other officials, the process is likely to take at least two years.

“Hazardous waste disposal is done on a case-by-case basis,” said T. Chakrabarti, acting director of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a government laboratory tasked with overseeing the clean-up effort.  “But it won’t be difficult.”

More than 345 tonnes of toxic waste remain in and around the site where a gas leak at a chemical factory owned by the Union Carbide Corporation killed more than 5,000 people a quarter of a century ago. Recent studies have found that toxic chemicals have penetrated the groundwater reserves beneath the site, and continue to poison nearby villagers.

Chakrabarti had told HT that the clean-up would involve removing some of the hazardous waste to a special waste disposal facility and incinerating the rest.  After this, the contaminated groundwater will have to be pumped out, purified and then recharged, he said………

Read more: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Toxic-mess-will-take-2-years-to-clean-up/Article1-561691.aspx

Written by csirindia

June 23, 2010 at 7:50 am

Posted in NEERI

AcSIR to start enrolling students from Aug-Sept

22 June 2010

NEW DELHI: The Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), the ambitious initiative by CSIR, will start enrolling students for post-graduate and doctoral programmes from this year.

The Union Cabinet, through a resolution adopted at a meeting last week, has permitted AcSIR to start operations from the academic session beginning August.

“The Cabinet passed a resolution authorising CSIR to start its Academy from the academic session beginning August- September,” Samir Brahmachari, Director General Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, told PTI.

The AcSIR will award post-graduate and doctoral degrees to students pursuing research in its 37 laboratories.

With the Cabinet resolution in place, CSIR will not have to wait for Parliament to pass a legislation authorising it to start the Academy.

Currently, scientists pursuing research in any of the 37 laboratories of CSIR across the country have to register themselves at different universities.

Source: http://www.ptinews.com/news/733860_AcSIR-to-start-enrolling-students-from-Aug-Sept

Written by csirindia

June 23, 2010 at 7:49 am

Posted in CSIR